With Eddie Muller, director of The Grand Inquisitor short film I posted about yesterday, it was email.
Part of the reply I got was this:
Thanks a million for the thumbs-up, and for following your instincts and giving the film a chance. I know how tough it is to commit to 20 minutes when surfing the net.
Let me note the part that make my eyes open:
I know how tough it is to commit to 20 minutes when surfing the net.
Yeah. Why is that?
It makes me think of that classic comic*:
And then I thought: You know, in all those depictions of computers I saw on TV and in movies growing up as a kid, I never, ever saw them being used as anything except information utilities. "Computer, tell me ...," answer is given, and the computer is forgotten.
Which is the way none of us have ever actually used a computer in the real world of everyday life. They've been used as tools (spreadsheet, word processing), as fun (games), and now as ... I really don't know what to call it. But there's now a high element of distractivity involved.
As I've been typing and working on this, over 30 tweets have come in. I have no idea how many of the sites I visit have been updated, as I like to go to them manually, individually, not trusting RSS.
But it's like non-stop fast-cutting in a movie. Bambambam. So to devote twenty minutes to a film on the Net -- or to reading a lengthy post, it's like hitting the brakes, hard.
I've recognized some of this in my own life earlier this year, pointing out that, for example, the browser in the Kindle would distract me from reading the books in it. I've even wondered about getting a cheap subnote that doesn't include WiFi, so I would be forced to concentrate on what I was doing at the moment (which should be writing).
It makes me wonder if the fast-switching nature of the Net is detrimental to anything that requires more than a few moment's attention. "Stop looking at that, there's something else going on over there!!!"
That's not good news for the future. Maybe not even for now.
*[Jaysus. I don't know where that originated or whose creation it is or even if it's Copyrighted. It's all over the Net, though, so I hope I'm OK. Whoever did it is a frikkin genius. It's better than that classic "On the Net, no one knows you're a dog" New Yorker cartoon!]